A Typical Summer Picnic

Although there is not a fixed menu for a summer picnic, you can almost count on traditional favorites such as hamburgers and hot dogs, chicken, ribs, garden salads, potato salad, chips and watermelon. The following is a summary of where these foods come from.

Thereís a 1-in-6 chance the beef on your backyard grill came from Texas. The Lone Star state was the leader in the production of cattle and calves, accounting for 7.2 billion pounds of the nationís production of 42.2 billion pounds last year. Thereís a 1-in-4 chance your hot dogs and ribs originated in Iowa. The Hawkeye state had a total inventory of 14.9 million hogs and pigs as of March 1, 2003. About one-fourth of the nationís total chicken on your barbecue grill probably came from one of the top broiler-producing states: Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, North Carolina and Mississippi. The value of production in each of these states exceeded $1 billion in 2002. These states combined for well over half of the nationís broiler production. The lettuce in you salad or on your hamburger probably was grown in California, which accounted for nearly three-quarters of lettuce production in 2002. The fresh tomatoes in your salad most likely came from Florida or California which combined, produced more than two-thirds of U.S. tomatoes in 2002. The ketchup on your hamburger or hot dog probably came from California which accounted for 95 percent of processed tomato production last year. Thereís a chance the beans in your side dish of baked beans or pork and beans came from North Dakota, which produced more than one-third of the dry, edible beans in 2002. As to potato salad or potato chips or fries, Idaho and Washington produced about one-half of the nationís spuds in 2002. For dessert, six states - California, Florida, Texas, Georgia Arizona and Indiana combined to produce about 80 percent of watermelons last year.

So enjoy the fruits of this great country. If you donít have a garden of your own, support your local farmers markets and load up on fresh peaches, watermelon, cantaloupe, sweet corn, squash, apples and all the good things that are available this time of year.

Enjoy a picnic soon!